9 things to get right before launching your next employee incentive program
Looking to launch an employee incentive program? Not sure where to start? Employee incentive programs, like any business endeavor, require planning and timely execution. But coming to grips with how to plan a successful incentive program can quickly become overwhelming.
Incentive programs made easy
In this post, we’ve put together a list of nine things that we’ve found to be integral to building a successful employee incentive program. So if you’re not sure which business goal you should link your program to, which employees should be a part of your program, or how you’ll incentivise your staff, this blog post has it all. Here are nine things to get right before you launch your next employee incentive program:
1. Establish the end goal
It’s essential that your employee incentive program have the most positive impact on your bottom line. Making sure that you know exactly what level of impact you want your business to experience is therefore very important. As a guide, you should be looking to express your end goal as a metric. Here are a few examples:
- Increase new product sales volume by 15% over the next two quarters
- Decrease the number of cancelled deals by 5% over the next two quarters
- Increase customer satisfaction ratings from three stars to four stars over the next two quarters
Using exact metrics indicates the importance of the goal to your staff, gives them a clear objective, and also creates a degree of line of sight into how their efforts will ultimately impact the organisation.
2. Determine who will participate
This recommendation ties directly into your selected end goal(s). You want to establish which employees are going to be instrumental in the attainment of your goal.
As you begin to determine which of your employees will be participants, think of all the departments that will need to have a hand in helping achieve the goal(s). It’s very easy to want to incentivise your sales team to sell more and forget that your deals desk will likely be under pressure to process all the new orders.
A great way to make sure that you include the right participants in your incentive program is to imagine your customer’s journey. Does your customer need to liaise with your accounting team at any stage? Does your product need to be installed by a technical team? Understanding how each employee impacts the customer experience will help you tie the right behaviours to rewards.
3. Pick the right rewards
Your employees are only going to be as interested in your incentive program as they are excited about the rewards they stand to receive. Diversity dictates that not everyone is going to be interested in a new flat screen TV.
When we created TuYu, we set out to build a solution that spoke to diversity in the workplace. Today, if you run your employee incentive program using our rewards platform, your staff will be able to use their monetary rewards for purchases at over 70 000+ till lanes across South Africa.
Getting rewards right can be a challenge, so here are a two guidelines on how to find the right rewards for your employees:
- Establish what they see as a reasonable reward. A R100 reward may been seen as significant for a manufacturing worker, however insignificant for an enterprise software sales executive.
- Determine how often the reward will be made. The frequency and ease of the issuance of rewards is an important motivator for employees. For example, rewards for milestone achievements will motivate employees for longer, especially if a larger reward is many months away.
4. Get your budget right
As established in point number one, your incentive program should drive a positive impact within your organization. That impact should equate to either a savings an increase in profits. Either way, you must factor the cost of your incentive program into the benefit your organisation plans to make. This way, you’ll be able to see whether or not running the program was fruitful.
Costs that you can expect to budget for include:
- Internal marketing collateral(posters and other paraphernalia)
- The actual cost of the rewards(this includes milestone rewards and spot prizes)
5. Have a clear plan on how to administer your incentive program
Rewards administration can quickly become a nightmare for all involved. Making sure that you have clear insight into KPIs that employees must achieve is one part of the administrative process. The other is ensuring that you have a simple way to issue out the rewards.
Any kind of delay in the issuance of rewards can drive employees to experience a negative reaction to the incentive program. At TuYu, we fixed this by enabling employers to issue out rewards to participants instantly using our our secure, cloud-based self-service rewards platform, or an API integration with other business critical applications for automated rewards. This is something we’re really proud of for two reasons:
Employers reward staff immediately, reinforcing the link between performing the right behaviours and reward
We have a 91% redemption rate which is way above industry standards. This means that 91% of all rewards issued are used by participants, showing that employees want rewards that they can choose.
There are a number of ways to issue out rewards, however, make sure that you can easily match performance to employees, and reward as soon as possible to reinforce the desired behaviour.
6. Set the rules and communicate them clearly
Ensure that there is no ambiguity associated with your program. Any uncertainty can lead to an ineffective program roll-out and lacklustre performance. To make sure that you communicate the details of your program as accurately as possible, here are three guidelines to follow:
- Clearly explain what the rewards are. Include what they look like, what the value of the reward is and how it can be used.
- Make sure that the reward rules are understood by all participants. Participants must know what constitutes the right behaviour and how it is rewarded. They also need to know how often the behaviours need to be exhibited to receive the reward, and whether or not certain rewards are milestone related rewards or spot prizes for performance.
- Explain how the rewards will be delivered. Participants must know how their reward will be delivered and how long it will take to be delivered.
7. Know how to track performance
Tracking the performance of the employees should be something that you can do easily. As the goal(s) are a already tied to functions that your employees perform at present, you should be able to apply the same tracking system to your incentive program with a few tweaks here and there. Two crucial elements that you cannot overlook when it comes to tracking are:
- Ensuring that your data is accurate. If there’s any possibility that your reporting tools produce or could produce inaccurate data, you must correct the flaw in your system immediately. A tracking flaw, or the use of metrics that are not closely linked to your incentive program goal(s) can create poor results.
- Create a tracking board to show how employees are performing. Doing so enhances employee line of sight and can serve as a motivator as energy will invariably take a dip.
8. Recognise your performers
Beyond the actual rewards, creating an environment where performance is recognised can be a tremendous motivator. As more employees are recognised, the clearer the link between the desired behaviours and the rewards becomes. A great way to recognise employees for their performance is to create a quick team huddle where an actual reward (or symbolic gesture) is made.
9. Plan to market your program from start to finish
Driving the right behaviours will take more than one email and a meeting about your new incentive program for it to take hold. An internal marketing plan will be required to help drive the elements of your program home in the minds of your employees. The good news is that planning your marketing program is not as difficult as it may seem. Your goal is get people interested at the beginning and keep momentum strong throughout the duration of the program. Here are three tips on how to do so:
- Determine the messaging sequence. Your marketing program will need to run for the duration of your incentive program. At a very basic level, it should have a starting point, a middle and an end. Here is what messaging could look like at each stage:
- Start: Welcome to the program and explain how it works
- Middle: Reinforce the rules and remind employees of the link between performance and rewards. You can also celebrate milestone here.
- Finish: Recognise the performers and the share the impact of the program on the business
- Know where and how you’ll promote your program. You’ll likely use email, so creating a unique email distribution list will be a great place to start. If you plan to create posters to put up around the office (highly recommended to get people excited about the program), figure out where they will be. Also, we recommend that you create more than one poster design. Doing so will ensure that the benefits of the program stay fresh in the minds of your employees.
- Keep your messaging upbeat. Motivating staff requires genuine enthusiasm. Your messaging should embody as much authenticity and enthusiasm as possible to get drive positive results.
While building a successful employee incentive program requires a well thought out plan and timely execution, it’s doable and the results can propel your business in greater success. Well executed employee rewards programs have the potential to create higher levels of performance among staff, something every business should strive to achieve.
Have you got the guide?
Download the TuYu Rewards and Recognition Value Proposition Guide and learn more about you can drive the right behaviours in your business.